Understanding changes to the publish widget in Brightspot

Since Brightspot 4.0 launched, we’ve been asked a lot of questions—many of which have pertained to the changes we made to the Publish Widget. Brightspot users have wondered things like:

  • “Why did the Publish button move?”
  • “Why are Workflow transitions in a drop-down now?”
  • “Why is Publish hidden behind Publish Override?”
  • “Why is Schedule hidden behind Publish Override?”

In this edition of Inside Brightspot, we’ll provide answers to each of those questions.

First, a little background: Anytime we make a change, especially to something that every user interacts with at some point, we expect these kinds of questions to arise. Before we even began redesigning the Publish Widget, we knew that it would most likely be a controversial adjustment. Still, we moved forward with implementing important changes because we believe these updates are critical to improving the UI for editorial teams.

Why did the Publish button move?

As mentioned above, the Publish button is a feature that every user interacts with at some point (unless there’s a workflow in place). It’s an important button, so we wanted to make sure it was always available. We also wanted to be certain the location was consistent and that it could remain fixed as you scrolled without affecting, or being affected by, changes in the content state, messaging and other UI elements on the page.

Since the title bar was also going to remain fixed at the top of the page, it made sense that we try to consolidate these areas and keep them in a familiar location for existing Brightspot users: the upper-right corner of the page.

screenshot of Brightspot CMS's Publish Button
In Brightspot v4, the publish button is only 66px (the height of the v4 header), above the default location users are familiar with in v3.

Moving the publishing tools into the title bar also allowed us to free up space in the right rail, in turn giving users more flexibility to display widgets in any order of importance.

When the Publish Widget occupied the top spot of the right rail, depending on the state of the object, it was possible for your next most important widget to be pushed pretty far down the right rail.

Examples of the various states and heights of the publish widget in v3
Examples of the various states and heights of the publish widget in v3.

As you can see in the screenshot, the height of the publish widget in v3 was unpredictable. Once a workflow was introduced—especially a workflow with multiple transitions—it was even more so, which brings us to the next question.

Why are Workflow transitions in a drop-down now?

In Brightspot, there are virtually no limitations for how you set up a workflow. A workflow could include unlimited statuses with unlimited transitions (though for the sanity of your team, we strongly recommend that teams limit to 2-4 of each). Brightspot also allows transitions to include comments and the ability to notify a specific user or user group. By moving all workflow options into a drop-down, we’re able to maintain a more consistent experience, regardless of the level of complexity in any workflow.

screenshot of Title Bar in Brightspot CMS
The positioning of the title bar and publishing tools in v4 are no longer affected by multiple workflow options or the status and transition messages that appear.

Why is Publish hidden behind Publish Override?

First, let’s define what a workflow is and why teams use them. An editorial workflow is the process teams follow for creating, reviewing, editing and publishing content. It enforces the sequence of operations, which have been defined by the team, through which an asset moves from the initial draft to final publication.

Typically, organizations create and enforce these workflows because they believe they’re an important part of creating great content. In most cases, workflows must be followed, and only a handful of users have the rights to skip over the workflow and publish directly.

And therein lies the reason why we moved Publish behind Publish Override: The workflow was set up for existing business reasons, so users who bypass those steps should be aware that they are doing so as an override—out of turn, out of sequence. It’s a reminder to users that they are bypassing the critical step of workflow. We hope that this extra click causes users to pause, providing a moment of insight into why they are skipping the workflow.

Why is Schedule hidden behind Publish Override?

As noted in this post, the schedule button provides the ability to schedule a single asset to be published at some point in the future.

That part about “to be published” is key because that indicates that when you click “schedule” on that asset, it hasn’t gone through the workflow yet. Again, a user who is scheduling before the workflow is complete is skipping ahead—it just happens to not be immediately in this case.

Finally, to learn more about why there’s a gear and why those links appear in the gear drop-down, read Inside Brightspot: The Tools Behind the Gear.


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